New Year New You

From that ultimate pick-me-up to losing weight fast, we’ve tried and tested the latest and best beauty treatments the city has to offer

Vi-Peel face peel

The promise: Facial peels work by using strong chemicals to strip the top layer of skin, encouraging it to peel to reveal newer, healthier skin and a smoother complexion. Many can cause severe redness and peeling for up to a week, but the new V-Peel claims to be gentler than standard peels, promising that the irritation will subside within a few days.

The experience: The actual treatment only takes 30 minutes, as a therapist smoothes several layers of acid peel solution onto our face. It feels rather tingly, but not painful. We’re told not to wash our face for at least four hours, then warned to expect redness and peeling within 48 hours.

Results: Immediately after the peel our face feels red and irritated, although not quite as bad as we expected. It prickles uncomfortably during the night, but subsides the following day to leave us looking a little pink. On the third day our skin starts to peel (it’s more annoying than painful, akin to post-sunburn peel), and by the sixth day the redness has completely gone and we’re left with a smoother, wrinkle-free and even-toned complexion. Pricey and a little uncomfortable, but worth it as we’ve received plenty of compliments about our dewy, glowing skin....
Dhs1,600 for 30 minutes. Ladies only. Eternel MedSpa, opposite Jumeirah Beach Park gate 5, Beach Road (04 344 0008).

Hijama Cupping Therapy

The promise: Dating back to the days of the ancient Greeks, cupping therapies traditionally used fire to create a localized area of suction on strategic points of the body to stimulate blood flow, which would promote healing and bring buried toxins and negative energy to the surface.

The experience: Today it is common to use hand pumps instead of fire to create the suction (a not unwelcome change). Oil is rubbed over the back and shoulders, and more than a dozen cups are attached to key joints. It’s not very painful but we felt a dull throbbing as the cups dug into our flesh.

Results: Our body is left with deep red circular marks for up to a week afterwards, and we’re told to avoid red meat for several days, rest and drink plenty of liquids as our body builds up new antibodies in place of the extracted toxins.
Dhs410, 45 minutes, Cleopatra’s Spa, Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 0000).

Spirit of Amara

The promise: As one of luxurious Amara Spa’s signature treatments, it’s also one of the most pampering – skin is buffed into baby softness using Aleppo soap and a ‘kese mitt’, the suds are then rain showered away before you submit to a deeply relaxing full-body massage.

The experience: As expected, this is self indulgence at its finest – from the gorgeous surrounds of the spa and the vast treatment room, the menu of relaxing music to choose from, to the expert hand and foot cleanse at the beginning of the treatment. The initial part of the treatment with the kese mitt really did feel like layers of old dead skin were being sloughed into oblivion, and the blissful massage that followed helped to melt away those knots. Our only complaint? Those two hours go by far too quickly.

Results: Skin was still smooth and glowing more than a week later, and those knots in the shoulders still haven’t returned.
Dhs820, 120 minutes. Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai (04 602 1660).

Guinot Hydradermie facial

The promise: A deep cleansing treatment followed by oxygenation procedures that refreshes, revitalises and lifts the skin. Afterwards, skin should be clearer, plumper and fresher.

The experience: The facial was extremely relaxing, Mairead, who hails from southern Ireland, has been a cosmetologist for 20 years and expertly analysed our skin, and the business of deep pore cleansing extraction. There are lots of different elements to this facial, which Mairead tailors to your specific skin type, including using high frequency stimulating electrodes to penetrate the dermal layers, eye area treatments, and an ultra- moisturising lifting serum for the decolletage area.

Results: Excellent. Our skin felt super clean and smooth, was definitely more youthful-looking and glowing immediately afterwards, and even felt clearer and cleaner for at least a week
Dhs500, one hour. Pastels, Al Wasl Road (04 394 7393/95).

Hydrating Mud Cocoon

The promise: The treatment will eliminate toxins and revitalise your skin (and your mind).

The experience: Walking through DIFC and into The Ritz-Carlton’s fountain-flanked lobby we felt very ‘Manhattan’ and the spa is equally chic – after we’d robed-up in the large and light (we’re sick of dark, grungy spas) changing and relaxation area we moved to our small but perfectly formed treatment room. The ritual began with a fresh salt scrub with satisfyingly strong pressure before a mud mask was applied all over (our modesty intact). We were then wrapped up in plastic – a process that usually puts us off wraps and feels uncomfortable and itchy, but which was fine in this case: perhaps because the products are organic? During the wrap we were privy to a spine-tingling head massage using acupressure techniques (a highlight) before a quick shower and application of honey-scented body butter.

Results: We walked out the most relaxed we’ve ever been after a body wrap ritual as well as completely enamoured by the ‘beyond organic’ ILA-spa products (so much so we blew the bank on a few on the way out).
Dhs600 for 80 minutes, The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC (04 372 2222).

De-stress Talise Ritual

The promise: Start 2012 well by letting go of all your stresses and worries with this treatment at Talise Ottoman Spa. The ritual works wonders to get rid of any stiffness, aches and pent up pains.

The experience: Talise Ottoman Spa’s new private couples suites upstairs is the only way to spa – think plush sofas and treatment beds in a regal setting, topped off with a private Jacuzzi and sauna in the suite, too. The ritual kicks off with us lying on the treatment bed as a coffee and frankincense body scrub is rubbed on by our respective therapists. We shower it off and then return for a hot mineral mud masque that is applied on to our backs, while we receive a thorough, intense and yet one of the most relaxing scalp and neck massages ever. Once that’s wiped off, there’s a quick refreshment break before a full body aromatherapy massage, where therapists knead off all the tension we’ve been holding on to for the past year. A quick and effective prescription facial tops it all off.

Results: We’re left looking radiant and feeling completely refreshed. Therapists leave soon after the treatment, so we get to relax and spend time in the Jacuzzi, toasting to our New Year’s resolutions with complimentary green tea and dates.
Dhs1,425 each, including use of the couple suites’ private lounge area, sauna, hammam and Jacuzzi. Dhs200 for each half hour thereafter for use of the facilities. Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0455).

Ultrasound Cavitation

The promise: Using focused ultrasound waves, this non-invasive treatment breaks down the body’s fat deposits offering a non-surgical option to make everyone slimmer.

The experience: The consultation is quick but thorough, talking us through the steps and our body goals, before we’re taken for measurements. Problem areas such as the abdomen, love handles and buttocks are marked and then we’re asked to lie down to start the treatment. The therapist tells us pain will be minimal and the only uncomfortable factor is the noise the ultrasound waves make as they pass through our body. Cold gel is applied on the areas being worked on as the therapist uses an ultrasound gun of sorts. We feel a mild prick as the waves penetrate, but it’s more than tolerable, and we can imagine fat cells breaking down.

Results: Afterwards, the treated areas feel softer but there’s no recovery time, so you can carry on with your day. We’re told that the fat cells broken down will be naturally eliminated and, even after just one session, there was a noticeable difference as we lost about 6cm overall. Depending on your body goals, you may need multiple sessions.
Dhs2,000, one hour. January promotion: Dhs1,000 for initial Ultrasound Cavitation treatment. Rebecca Treston Aesthetics at EuroMed Clinic, Jumeirah Beach Road, Villa 611, (04 394 5422).

Amazon Keratin Hair Straightening

The promise: This completely formaldehyde-free treatment is said to add life to damaged hair, reduce volume and eliminate frizz, while also straightening locks.

The experience: After shampooing and conditioning our hair, the process begins. To be honest, we were a little apprehensive as horror stories about hair treatments are all too common, but as our hair is sectioned off for the keratin formula, we’re surprised by how quick, clean and mild it seems. Our eyes sting a little when they get to the locks at the front, but it’s tolerable. Soon after, straighteners are used to ‘seal’ it all in and we’re good to go! It doesn’t look like our hair’s been treated to be honest – it’s got bounce, shine and is incredibly soft, and we’re glad for that. We’re told to avoid tying our hair up or even tucking it behind our ears for two days, when we’ll have to return to get the keratin treatment washed off.

Results: We’re surprised by how soft and shiny our hair looks and feels, even after a couple of washes. It doesn’t leave hair pin-rod straight, so if you have wavy hair (like us), expect the waves to still be there but your hair to be soft and very manageable. A blow-dry on our problem hair usually takes close to an hour but after Amazon, it was done at home in less than 15 (with exactly the same results). The effect is said to last between two to three months too.
Dhs2,000 onwards. Belle Femme Beauty Boutique & Spa, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina (04 437 0207).

The al fresco theme park will be opening its gates with a new show

The critically acclaimed Shakespeare play will be performed in January

The beachside dining spot is celebrating international coffee day at its brand-new branch

Feeling the pinch? Fear not. We've got 16 weekend feasts for under Dhs300 for you

Black Coffee and Themba will hit the decks on Friday September 28

You’ll get a complimentary vegetarian dim sum basket on October 1


Follow us